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Eguisheim is a French commune located in the Haut-Rhin department, in the Grand Est region. This town is located in the historical and cultural region of Alsace. The inhabitants are called the Éguisiens et Éguisiennes (also Éguisheimois, Eguisien, Eguisheimois).
Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
The church of Eguisheim of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul was erected in 1220 on an old Carolingian foundation of which only the base of the bell tower remains. This Gothic building has only a few Romanesque elements which correspond to a certain period. The four-storey tower has twin pointed windows, characteristic of the Gothic period. Inside this bell tower is a portal with polychrome Romanesque sculpture representing in the tympanum a blessing Christ, surrounded by the holy apostles Peter and Paul. On the lintel is carved the parable of the wise men and the foolish Virgins who each knock on the door of paradise (on the side of the wise Virgins, Christ welcomes them while with the foolish Virgins the door remains closed).
The frame of the bell tower dates from the sixteenth century and supports four bells suspended from beams. The construction was made in such a way that the vibrations did not propagate to the masonry. The old church of Eguisheim, dedicated to the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, was demolished in 1807. Only the Roman-Gothic tower remains with a very interesting historiated portal. It gave way to a styleless building, consecrated on July 2, 1809. There is still an old Romanesque tank that local tradition wants to date back to the time of Leon IX.
The Callinet Frères organ, from 1839, was rebuilt by Alfred Kern in 1962.
13th or 14th century porch
The porch belongs to the old church of Eguisheim whose moldings are in Romanesque style, while the architectural lines are Gothic. The portal has four columns on each side, the tops of the capitals of which are carved. Towards the top of the capitals we can see a tympanum representing Christ blessing the Earth and at his side the apostles Peter and Paul. The scene below represents the parable of the Wise Virgins and the Foolish Virgins. The former are greeted at the door of paradise by Christ, while the latter knock on the door of paradise which remains closed.
Polychrome wood of the opening Virgin
Inside the Church of Saints Peter and Paul is a polychrome wooden statue of an opening Virgin from the fourteenth century (height 119 cm). This Virgin and Child presents a face with a sweet smile. She carries the child as if to present it to all who pass by. A hollowed-out piece of wood that lies under the throat of the statue may have contained relics. Most opening Virgins fall into two categories: Passionists and Trinitarians, representing Mary as daughter, wife, and mother. This is the only one that exists in Alsace, and is different since the paintings, from the seventeenth century, represent the holy sacrament (classified M.H in 1978).
Among the traditions brought to this parish, let us mention the processions that used to take place there. On the feast of Saint Mark, the population of Eguisheim went to the convent of Saint Mark in Gueberschwihr nearby. On the day of the Invention of the Cross, the procession went to the town of Sainte-Croix-en-Plaine and on the feast of Saint Urbain, the parishioners went on horseback to tour the suburbs. Hence the custom of still carrying the bust of Saint Urban in the procession of the ban today. During Rogation Week, the procession went to various places: Monday in Herrlisheim, Tuesday in Feldkirch, Wednesday and Ascension Day around Eguisheim. On Fridays, the parishioners rode around the ban. On Rogation Saturday, the population went to Marbach Abbey.